Monday, March 31, 2014
I feel like spring is finally here because today is opening day in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Brewers. I will be watching on TV, in the warmth of my home, by choice, even though they now have an enclosed field and I know the roof will be closed so everyone can enjoy the game in relative comfort. Quite a change from the games I went to as a kid. The wind off of Lake Michigan, on opening day, could make it feel like the middle of winter.
The Milwaukee Braves came to Milwaukee in 1953 when I was six years old and I was lucky enough to have surrogate grandparents that had season tickets. I just wish I had the black jacket with the Indian Brave on the back and matching cap I wore as a small child. It would have been a great memory keepsake. The team was the Boston Braves from 1941 to 1952, prior to arriving in Milwaukee. They played at “County Stadium” in the same location that is now home to the Milwaukee Brewers. “Miller Park“, the current home of the Brewers, opened in 2001 and is one of the best in the nation.
As a kid growing up in Milwaukee I followed the Braves and collected Topps and Bazooka bubble gum cards. I can remember having some favorites; Lew Burdette, Ernie Johnson, Warren Spahn, Del Crandall, Joe Adcock, Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Frank Torre, Andy Pafko and of course Hank Aaron. Great memories as a kid. Sure wish, as most guys do, that my parents had not thrown those cards out.
I thought it was ironic that on opening day, 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers were playing the Atlanta Braves because for those of you that are too young to remember or so old that you can’t remember, the Milwaukee Braves last season in Milwaukee was 1965. They then went to Atlanta and became the Atlanta Braves. As you can imagine they broke the hearts of many fans although attendance had been going down. At least that’s what we were told.
I remember, in the spring of 1965, as a senior in high school, taking advantage of something called “Senior Skip Day” and going to a Milwaukee Braves game with a group of my friends. Little did we know that it would probably be our last Milwaukee Braves game and one of the last times we would all spend time together, because graduation was only a couple of months away and we would drift apart. We still see each other occasionally, but it will never be the same. It’s wonderful to have those memories.
My day is complete. I got to watch the entire game without distraction or interruption and the Brewers won 2 - 0 on opening day, in Milwaukee, against the team that deserted me as a teenager in 1966. I know, get over it Jim. Still It doesn’t get much better than that unless you were there today or back in 1965 with friends.